Officials Upset With State Tax Proposal
Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 29, 2014
BERMUDA RUN – A property tax proposal in the state legislature has local officials here scratching their heads.
The draft bill up for consideration in the sshort session includes verbiage under a short title of “Energy Modernization Act” about capping property tax revenues at “no more than 8 percent from the city property tax revenues for the prior tax year.”
Town Manager Lee Rollins said he had already made a call to the League of Municipalities about “how something so critically important to the financial structures for cities and counties could be put into crevasses, quite candidly, of a bill that has nothing to do with that.”
If the bill passes, Rollins and Mayor Ken Rethmeier said that it would have a significant impact on future projects for the town.
“The implications become more important as we potentially see voluntary annexation because the value of that property that is annexed could exceed that percentage amount and therefore put us, quote unquote, in violation or limiting the amount of tax increase that we could accrue,” Rethmeier said. “So it doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Rollins said he couldn’t understand why the state would want to take such a measure.
“We just need to be vigilant and attempt to understand why the state would want to take powers away from local municipalities,” he said. “That should be left up, and this is my opinion, to the people. They can fire town managers, they can replace council members and county commissioners if things aren’t going like they want them to.”
Rollins was asked by the council to address a formal letter stating Bermuda Run’s concerns about the bill to the League of Municipalities.
• In his mayor’s comments at the conclusion of the meeting, Rethmeier said that the town was pleased with the outcome of the recent election and the passing of the school bond referendum for a new high school in Davie County.
“It’s a signal to the entire county that we will continue to move forward in a very progressive fashion and in our interest, it fits nicely with our comprehensive plan and our efforts toward economic development in a controlled and deliberate fashion,” he said. “And that’s dependent upon having the right infrastructure in place to attract those businesses and families.”
• Barring any last-minute snags, construction on the long-awaited roundabout entering Bermuda Run on US 158 should start this summer.
Lee Rollins, town manager, told the town vouncil that construction authorization was received by DOT and that bid documents for the project were posted last week.
“So progress is being made,” Rollins said. “Our hope is that the bids come in based on the engineering estimate and that we can come before you with a recommendation and get going with construction this summer for that project. Before that takes place, the council will have to approve that contract.”
The project has been in the works for quite some time. In a meeting early last year, Rollins said that the slow pace of moving forward was “sort of like going round and round, but we’re going to get there.”
The original agreement for funding the project anticipated a completion date of Dec. 31, 2013, and a supplemental agreement, which Rollins saida was merely a “bookkeeping” matter, extended the deadline until Dec. 31, 2014.
The finish line is in view far ahead of that date, and Rollins has said that summer would be an ideal time to begin construction as action slows somewhat at BB&T Soccer Park.
The town has budgeted $140,000 for its local match for the roundabout, which will be built at the Bermuda Run entrance across from the soccer complex. The project includes the demolition and construction of a gatehouse as well as architectural elements within the center.
And while the town looks forward to the roundabout, Rollins wanted to make the council aware of some news he hopes doesn’t materialize.
In other business, the council:
• Also heard from Rethmeier about the upcoming 15th anniversary celebration for the town, which will be held on May 31 from 4-8 p.m. There will be guests, food, music and activities for kids. “We look forward to this time to celebrate a very special time” Rethmeier said. “It’s unique as Bermuda Run is one of the newest towns in the state of North Carolina, and it’s evolving in a very impressive way.”
• Approved text amendments regarding multi-family residential design standards, and low impact development guidelines along with encouraging open space and recreational facilities.
• Heard from Rollins regarding the 2014-15 budget, which was presented in the April meeting. After a public hearing last Tuesday night, where no one spoke, the council will consider adopting the budget in its June 10 meeting.
• Approved a contract for Eddie Carrick to again perform the town audit for $5,500 and the annual financial statements for $1,000. There was a separate contract for Carrick to do the audit for the Bermuda Run Tourism Development Authority for $1,250 and the financial statements for $250.